How to Pick a Welder Trade School near Ravenswood West Virginia
Enrolling in the right welding vocational school near Ravenswood WV is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? Many people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs available near Ravenswood WV.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by Ravenswood WV area technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are usually offered by West Virginia community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder in Ravenswood WV.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Ravenswood WV employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to Ravenswood WV employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding tech school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is truly a hands-on type of trade, and consequently not extremely suitable for online training. Even so, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and technical schools that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship near Ravenswood WV. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Decide on a Welding Vocational School
After you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Ravenswood WV area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the Ravenswood WV welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and various Ravenswood WV metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the local welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s important that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate may mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Ravenswood WV employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Ravenswood WV welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welder school you choose must be within driving distance of your Ravenswood WV home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Ravenswood WV, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Being a Welder in Ravenswood WV
Ravenswood, West Virginia
As of the census of 2010, there were 3,876 people, 1,657 households, and 1,061 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,118.0 inhabitants per square mile (817.8/km2). There were 1,807 housing units at an average density of 987.4 per square mile (381.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.4% White, 0.2% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.0% of the population.
There were 1,657 households of which 29.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.7% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.0% were non-families. 32.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.90.
The median age in the city was 42.4 years. 23% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.4% were from 25 to 44; 23.9% were from 45 to 64; and 23.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 46.6% male and 53.4% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,031 people, 1,692 households, and 1,135 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,190.1 people per square mile (845.9/km²). There were 1,832 housing units at an average density of 995.4 per square mile (384.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.04% White, 0.25% African American, 0.05% Native American, 0.74% Asian, 0.15% from other races, and 0.77% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.60% of the population.
Pick the Ideal Welding Trade Program Ravenswood WV
Choosing the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welder school that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Ravenswood WV.